JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After the News4JAX I-TEAM obtained footage of what appears to be a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cruiser peeling out in a parking lot in Northwest Jacksonville in front of people who were gathered for a car club meetup, another witness told us that the officer was not participating in the event, rather he was trying to disperse the crowd.
News4JAX learned the video was recorded Saturday night in the parking lot of a store on Lem Turner Road near Soutel Drive and has been turned over to JSO’s Internal Affairs Unit.
On Monday, we heard from a witness who said the officer was participating. But a different witness has since emailed News4JAX this: “The officers was speeding yes but he tried for at least 10 mins to chase people out and he wasn’t trying to do donuts or races he was getting everyone out of the lot those kids recording were told multiple times to leave and refused.”
So the I-TEAM showed this video to James Brown, a retired JSO officer who spent 30 years on the force. Brown said it does not appear like the officer was trying to clear a crowd, but the video only tells so much.
“If he was trying to dispel the group, he could have easily got on the radio and called for assistance to do just that. But on the face, he’s trying to add to the entertainment value, because you hear the crowd in the background cheering him on. But I don’t know any police tactic or technique that would allow that to disperse a crowd,” Brown said.
Brown said, if Internal Affairs determines the officer did anything wrong, it could result in discipline, from written reprimand to a suspension.
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In the meantime, News4JAX continues to receive videos from around town, including surveillance footage from a Westside neighborhood showing a car peeling out. And now other car clubs are saying these groups tearing up parking lots are giving the other auto clubs a bad name.
“We don’t do takeovers. We don’t do anything. We just sit there, talk with each other, any modifications, any audio, any upgrades we’ve done,” said a car club member named J. “And the cops get involved, and we usually get shut down for not doing nothing.”
The car clubs that are now complaining said they do many positive things for the community and don’t tear up parking lots.